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ALLIANCE INTELLIGENCEChapter 27BROTHERS





-Hank silently stares down at Jaig and his teammate and newfound love Kara as they overlook the gardens of a world where the Dauntless Knight has stopped to refuel. He tries to think of something to say, to bridge the gap that now lies between him and his brother. But he cannot bring himself to raise his voice, only watch, still, in silence.


    



-He is startled by the sudden appearance of Sgt. Klink, his amicable captor.

———“It’s high time the two of you had a talk”.

“What? No, I don’t know what to say. He gave up on everything we believed in…”

——“From a certain point of view…”






“Tell me,” Klink continues “When Mara first interrogated you, did she spin some yarn about her brother, something about him getting killed by rebels?”

——“Yes…”

“Well it’s a load of crock. She was an only child. That’s how she got so good at manipulation, if you ask me. But I did have a brother Hank. During the Clone Wars, we lived on a neutral world that didn’t much care for the Republic. But then one day the Confederacy rolled into town. They murdered my brother in cold blood. And so, of all things, I joined the Army of the Republic. And I’ve been fighting for justice ever sense. It just goes to show, you can never predict what someone will do for a brother…”






-Lightyears away, on Tirith, Cpt. Oxixo marches down the halls of the Imperial garrison, on the hunt for the intruder he believes assaulted Hans in the gardens, not realizing that it was Hans’ own brother, Sila.





“Sir,” a trooper calls out to him. “We have a report!”





-Ox turns back to see an earnest Fangorn soldier standing at attention.

———“What is it?”

“The intruder has been apprehended, sir. We’re holding him in the interrogation chambers now”.






-Elsewhere in the same garrison, Willix and Shade nervously wait as Inspector Zulu, held at gunpoint, gives them access to the spaceport controls while alarms sound.





-Suddenly the trooper they had encountered earlier, Shade’s old squad mate, bursts into the room

———“Inspector, they’ve captured the intruder and need you in… Wait, what’s going on?”






-Without hesitation, Willix shoots the trooper dead as Shade watches, his helmet covering his horrified expression.





“You’re never going to get out of here alive, idiots”, the Inspector scoffs, finishing the codes. “This is one of the largest Imperial garrison outside of the core!”





“We’ll see about that”, Willix stares him down.





“You’re coming with us”.





-In the interrogation chambers, Ox is shocked to see the intruder revealed as none other than Sila Kott, highly wanted rebel terrorist and brother to his closest friend!





-In a few moments, Hans rushes into the chamber, confused.





“What’s going on?”





“We need a moment”, Ox mutters, shoving Hans back out the door and into the hallway.





“How did you brother get here, Hans?”

———“I don’t know…”

“Are you sure, because right now this looks very bad for you. Wolffe is looking for any excuse to discredit you and he’s already determined that you helped Sila sneak back in!”






“That’s not true!” Hans protests.

——“It better not be. I’m risking my whole career to stand up for you. Don’t betray me again”.






-Ox backs away as the rest of the officers exit the chamber. He turns to General Wolffe and walks off, quietly urging the Supreme Leader to calm his accusations. Mayor Riechenbach, however, stays behind with Hans.





“I have everything under control,” the Mayor assures Hans.

———“I don’t want you to have everything under control!” Hans snaps back. “I want you and my brother and the rebellion, and all of the secrecy and backstabbing out of my life! I didn’t come back for this!”

“Then here’s the codes to the cell. Do what needs to be done, and this will all be over”.






“Why did you come back?,” Hans glares at his brother, walking back into the chamber.

———“Because you’re my brother! I don’t want to leave without you!”






“You don’t want… Well, did you ever think to ask me what I wanted? You just assumed I’d love to leave behind everything I knew and everyone I cared about to join your little crusade?”





-Sila’s bonds slip off, dropping him to the floor.

———“Well that’s not the life I want, Sila. Get out while you still can. This is good-bye”.






-As a devastated Sila flees the compound, Willix and Shade march through the back gate with their prisoner leading the way.

———“This is insane”, Inspector Zulu is still complaining. “What is even your point here?”






“Where’s Cracken?” Willix scans the area. “We need to ditch this nerf herder.”





-Suddenly, the Inspector lashes out, grabbing Willix’s blaster!





-He turns to shoot Shade, who reaches for his blaster but freezes, unable to shoot a fellow

Imperial agent!






-But before he can pull the trigger, a shot rings out and a blaster bolt rips directly between the Zulu’s eyes, killing him instantly.





-“Heesa dead!” Bif shouts from atop a distant shelter.





“What the heck was that?” Willix bends down to retrieve his blaster. “Why didn’t you shoot?”





-Before Shade can reply, Cracken and the other rebels arrive at the scene.

———“Have you seen Sila?” Cracken asks.

“No, what am I, his babysitter?” Willix scoffs. “What, did you lose your little wunderkind?”






“He must have gone back to try and talk to his brother. We’ll need to stay out here until we hear from him”.





“Well, if he went back in, then he’s the one who set off the alarms and he’s either locked up or dead” Willix replies. “We’re sitting ducks out here, let’s roll out”.





“We don’t leave anyone behind!” Cracken snaps, slamming the new agent into a wall. “I don’t know how you did things wherever the hell it is you came from, but I don’t just abandon my men!”

———“Then you had better start keeping a better hold on them! If you keep us out here, you’ll lose your whole damn team!”






-Calming down, and realizing the breadth of the situation, Cracken steps back

———“We’ll move to the hangers and meet the seller. Once we have the ships, we can wait for Sila. He knows how to get there”.






-It doesn’t take long for the rebels to reach the hanger in question, but the walk seems like an eternity for those worrying about their missing friend and the increasingly volatile emotional of their leader.





-At the gate, they are confronted by a gruff manager.

——“We’re here to meet Niles Handel”, Cracken declares.






“Are all of your missions like this?” Shade whispers.

———“We’ve had a rough few months”, Havi sighs in reply.






-The team marches into the hanger, a shady, ramshackle establishment somehow maintained with precision and order by it’s beaurocratic management. towards the back auction lot, where the fleet of transports wait.





“Don’t move!” an armored figure lurches forward, blaster drawn.

———“Okay, calm down,” Cracken smiles. “I’m the buyer. Where’s Niles?”






-The ominous, cloaked leader of the gang confidently struts forward.

———“You have the payment?” Bif steps forwards with a heavy bag.






“It’s all here”, Cracken pulls out a large, crystalline orb from the bag. “The spice, as arranged”.





“But now here’s the thing”, Niles shakes his head. “Words been going around lately. I know who you are now. Col. Airen Cracken, the Empire’s most wanted. You alone have a bounty worth that spice and then some. And you had the courtesy of bringing your whole team. So let’s just say… the price has gone up”.





“This is all we’ve got”, Cracken replies cautiously.

——“Well, that’s just too bad” Niles motions to his men, who circle the rebels weapons drawn.






-The team groups up as they’re surrounded by Niles’ gang. Things look bleak until…





-Sila pushes his way to the group.

———“Someone reneg on the deal again, Colonel?”






“Will this help?” He holds up an ancient Fangorn death mask, suspiciously similar to one in Supreme General Wolffe’s private collection.





“This…this is acceptable,” Niles struggles to hide his excitement with his priceless new prize. “I will accept it. Now get out of here before I change my mind and something painful happens”.





“Excellent work, Sila” Cracken smiles as the team prepares to depart in their new shuttles.





“But where’d you get the mask?” Shade asks.

———“Oh, they just had the old thing lying around the castle”…






-As the transports depart for the rebel base, General Wollfe reclines in his throne room, completely oblivious to what has transpired, instead dwelling on his plan to eliminate Hans Kott and his brother once and for all.





“Excuse me, sir, there’s a Cpt. Oxixo here to see you”, a protocol droid interrupts his brooding.

——“Let him in. Hopefully he broke that rebel scum”






-The door slides open to reveal Oxixo and a squad of Stormtroopers, blasters drawn.

———“Karl Wollfe, you are under arrest for treason against the Galactic Empire”, Ox declares. “You are officially relieved of your duties as Supreme General and will be transferred into imperial custody awaiting trial”.






“This is outrageous treason!” Wollfe shouts as he is led away. “You won’t get way with this!”





“Pardon my asking, master Mayor, sir, but what exactly is going on?” the confused protocol droid approaches Mayor Reichenbach as the guards exit.

———“It appears that our formal general’s personal access codes allowed a highly wanted rebel spy to escape the Imperial garrison along with one of his personal artifacts, which were then used to illegally purchase a squadron of transport shuttles. So sloppy. I expected better of him”.






“So what happens now?” Hans asks, hours later.

———“Mayor Reichenbach will hold the Supreme General’s position until a proper replacement can be found. Unless you’ve changed your mind”.

“No, I’ve had quite enough of politics for ten lifetimes. I’m just still not sure what I want to do now. I’m home, but nothing is the way that I left it”.






“Then I may have something for you Hans, but before I ask this next question, I need to be absolutely sure”, the Captain looks cautiously around, wary of being overheard. “Can I trust you? Are you still loyal to the Empire?”

———“Of course! You’re the only friend I have left, Ox. I’d never lie to you”.

“Then listen carefully. I’ve been recruited for a secret mission. There’s been a conspiracy, it’s vast within the Empire, how high up it goes, no one knows. But everything that has happened in the last few months is a lie!”






“Darth Vader is alive!”

TO BE CONTINUED………




ALLIANCE INTELLIGENCE
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SON OF FANGORN
 
Chapter 27  
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